Purveyor of the Secret Sauce
- Jun 9, 2005
- Reaction score
that’s really interesting. I’ve always thought it was a derivative of “set”. As far as I remember, I’ve always heard my in-laws or wife refer to a matching set of clothes as “setto” (set). It could be matching bottom and top, but could also be matching crewneck and cardigan for example. Every time I hear the people at Ikiji or Fujito refer to matching pieces, that’s what I always hear: “setto” (set).Set Up (セットアップ) originally comes from a transliteration of the IT use of setup as in setup and installation. It is commonly found in all kinds of manuals and instructions for software and hardware including IKEA products, speakers, Windows installations, etc.
How it ended up as a term for fashion is rather nebulous as is so common with Japanese slang and jargon. If I'm not mistaken it was first used with women's clothing where matching tops and bottoms were/are sold as a set yet were too casual to be a suit which has a stricter definition. Eventually it made its way into men's fashion as well. See the following which is from a search for セットアップ on Zozotown, a major (fast fashion) online retailer.
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Note that the Japanese term can refer to clothing purchased separately or together.
The common definition is "Assembling/building top and bottom clothes" (服の上下を組み立てること). One website writing about "set up suits" said that whereas regular suits are the same size on top and bottom, requiring them to be altered, set up suits can be selected in different sizes without resizing. Jackets or bottoms can be sold separately as individual pieces or bought together should one want to do so. In casual wear set up means "coordinated upper and lower clothes". Apparently this applies to accessories sometimes as well when they are intended or able to be worn with matching outfits.
As to why the term 'set up' I can only guess. Just as Windows setup simplifies the installation process so do set ups simplify the dressing process, providing a quick and easy way to have a coordinated outfit ready to go with minimal effort. When shopping you are 'set up' to have a complete outfit ready to go out the door. One-stop shopping so to speak.
My apologies if any of the above is incorrect, please take it with a grain of salt. I am no expert and the origins of Japanese terms tend to be either idiot-proof or ridiculously confusing. For instance, if anyone could explain why pants breaks are called "cushion" (クッション) I would be much obliged.